How does the COVID-19 pandemic impact the global workforce? Severely. Chief human resources officers (CHROs) have never had a more important role to play. They have the tools and expertise to help keep the global economy viable and help people survive financially, now and in the future.

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global workforce is drastic. Workplace lockdowns have forced a shift to remote and online work. They have reduced work hours, and are resulting in business closures and job losses. CHROs can help people and organizations navigate this shift, building shared workforce resilience.

This largescale workforce shift is not a one-off phenomenon. Changes in technology, in work patterns, consumption of goods and services, and evolving business models will continue to fundamentally affect the economy. However, the impacts we are experiencing now are enormous.

  • In March 2020, the International Labour Organization (ILO) estimated global job losses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic at 25 million by the end of 2020. Those numbers have been rapidly revised upward. Extended COVID-19 lockdown measures impact more than 90 percent of workers’ jobs. For Q2, 2020, the ILO estimates lost working hours at 10.5 percent, which equates to 305 million fulltime jobs.
  • The World Bank predicts that the pandemic will cause the worst global recession since World War II, with global unemployment expected to rise to its highest level since 1965.

The global pandemic has created an unprecedented sense of shared purpose for political, business, civic and human prosperity, inspiring collective action. CHROs are on the front line of this response.

People, organizations and communities need answers now. Innovative solutions are needed that will help build shared workforce resilience and prepare people and organizations for tomorrow. CHROs have the tools and expertise to lead the application of agile workforce strategies, helping people and organizations navigate workforce shifts en masse.

Innovative solutions forged in disruptive times

Shared workforce resilience means working together to keep as many people healthy, safe and employed as possible “in the now” with an eye to equipping people with new skills for the future. Plans need to be fit for purpose today but capable of evolving as the global health and economic environment changes.

No single enterprise can do this alone. Nor is this a one-time process. It requires the development of persistent capabilities and relationships across stakeholder groups. The development of People + Work Connect, a free employer-to-employer analytics-based platform that facilitates continued employment, offers an excellent example.

In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, many organizations are reducing their workforces, while others can’t fill jobs fast enough. People + Work Connect brings organizations together to help get people back to work faster. Created by chief human resources officers from Accenture, Lincoln Financial Group, ServiceNow and Verizon, this global initiative provides new ways to keep people employed.

A plan for shared resilience

There are five key areas CHROs can focus on to help their organizations achieve long-lasting workforce resilience.

As each organization will be at a different level of maturity, and with varied labor laws and regulations around the world, not every company will move at the same rate or follow the same path. Join me in my next post as I take a close look at these five areas.

Meantime, for more on this topic, click through to Creating shared workforce resilience.

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